What Is a Synthetic Fabric | Process, Types and Its Uses

As the name suggested, synthetic means man-made and does not come from natural resources. What is a synthetic fabric? The synthetic fabric was made from synthetic fibers using chemical substances and reactions to produce the fibers.

The Process

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

To make synthetic fibers, the first step is. This step is using chemicals such as Carbon Disulphide and Sodium Hydroxide. Then, processing them using a chemical reaction called polymerization.

The next step is to process this liquid through spinnerets to produce a filament. Which are tiny threads of continuous filament fiber. Afterward, this filament is twisted into a yarn. Then, add dyes to color them.

Those yarns are then woven to make synthetic fabric. The final step is adding other chemicals to make the fabric softer or wrinkle-free. Or makes it resistant to flame, stain, water, or even moth-repellent.

The Types

What is a synthetic fabric? There are many types of synthetic fabrics, but the basic synthetic fibers are four types only. These are Rayon, Nylon, Polyester, and Acrylic. From these four fibers, they were developed into many types of synthetic fabrics, such as the explanation below:

1. Acetate

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

Derived from cellulose, this type of synthetic fabric has a luxurious appearance. Also, it drapes well with a soft crisp feel. It is wrinkle-free and resistant to shrinkage, moths, and mildew. This fabric is used for special occasion wear and dress linings.

2. Acrylic

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

This fabric is made from acrylonitrile, this fabric is lightweight but strong, and it has an uneven surface. This fabric does not absorb water but has the warmth and softness of wool. It is usually made into warm clothing, such as sweaters and blankets.

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3. Lyocell

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

This fabric is made from cellulose, a type of rayon. So, it has a soft feel and drape like rayon but is much more durable and stronger. It has a subtle sheen, is very breathable/absorbent, and is resistant to shrink and wrinkle.

It is used for dresses, suits, pants, and sportswear. But also, it can be used for home furnishings. Therefore, it is usually machine washable.

4. Microfiber

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

This fabric is made from filaments such as acrylic, nylon, polyester, or rayon. So popular for sportswear due to its wicking ability, such as swimwear and underwear. If the fibers are woven tightly, they can be used for making raincoats.

5. Nylon

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

Made of polyamide, it blends well with natural fibers to give durability and stretch. Nylon is very strong, elastic, lightweight, drapes well, and resistant to abrasion. It is easy to wash and dry, but it will melt when exposed to high heat.

This fabric does not absorb moisture. Usually used to make hosiery and sportswear.

6. Polyester

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

This fabric is durable, soft but strong, and quick dry. It is also wrinkle-free and can hold its shape well. Made of polyethylene terephthalate, it can be blended with natural fibers. Such as cotton or wool.

Polyester is used to make clothing more durable and cheaper to produce. However, it stains easily and attracts static electricity.

7. Polypropylene

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

This fabric is made of a very lightweight fiber. But it is strong and resistant to abrasion, stains, static, sunlight, and even odors.

It has a high insulation ability and is capable of wicking moisture effectively. It is easy to wash in low temperatures and dry fast.

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Usually makes into active wear such as backpacks, mountain climbing apparel, and the like.

8. Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

Made of polyester fibers with backing woven and a shiny plastic as a surface coating. This makes the fabric waterproof and has a rubbery texture.

This fabric types does not breathe and should not be stretched. Usually made into raincoats and protective clothing. But it also has uses for the usual apparel as well.

9. Rayon a.k.a. Viscose

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

This fabric is made from regenerated cellulose and has a similarity to silk. Such as lustrous appearance and highly absorbent. It also drapes well and experienced no pilling problem.

It has used for many kinds of clothing. This fabric is dry clean only. So, if it is washed with water, it can shrink and the color can bleed. The fabric also becomes stiff and harsh.

10. Spandex a.k.a. Lycra or Elastane

What Is a Synthetic Fabric

This fabric is a polyester-polyurethane co-polymer that makes this fabric lightweight yet strong and very elastic. It is also non-absorbent to water and oils. It can be blended with natural fibers, and even with nylon.

This fabric uses is for clothing that is intended to cling to the body and needs elasticity. Such as tights, sportswear, and corsetry.

Caring for Synthetic Fabrics

What is synthetic fabric care instruction? Depending on the type of fibers used to make that fabric, there are either need dry cleaning or are simply machine-washable. Do pay attention to the cleaning method advised in the garment label.

Many synthetic fibers are easy to discolor or degraded with age. So, keep them away from direct sunlight.


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